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Shekhawat has history on his side in Prez polls
May 27, 2007 18:10 IST
Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, who is emerging as National Democratic Alliance's frontrunner for the presidential elections, has history on his side. So far, all those Vice-Presidents who ran for the Presidency, have been successful in reaching Raisina Hill.
The elections are expected to be announced anytime now as incumbent A P J Abdul Kalam is retiring on July 24.
The NDA had earlier favoured a second term for Kalam but has now given up the idea. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi are making efforts to have a combined candidate of UPA-Left-BSP to ensure smooth sailing of the ruling side in the event of a contest.
The six Vice-Presidents who became Presidents were S Radhakrishnan, Zakir Hussain, V V Giri, R Venkatraman, Shanker Dayal Sharma and K R Narayanan.
In 1969, the late V V Giri in fact created history by defeating the official Congress candidate Neelam Sanjiva Reddy.
Giri was put up as an independent candidate by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to upstage her detractors
The NDA is apparently not unduly worried amid indications that Shekhawat is not averse to a fight if a consensus does not materialise. The NDA is banking on the 'friends' of Shekhawat in all parties.
The talk in the opposition alliance is that any additional help from south of the Vindhyas would see a rise in the NDA graph in the event of a contest.
The election of the Vice President is scheduled within a month of that of the President and it is believed in political circles that a 'package deal' may be on the cards.
Former prime minister A B Vajpayee, has been authorised by NDA to choose its nominee. The buzz in the NDA camp is that the UPA is not that much in a comfortable position given the arithmetic of the electoral college. A swing of a mere 75,000 Presidential votes could turn the contest in its favour.
The names of Union Ministers Pranab Mukherjee, Sushil Kumar Shinde and senior Congress leader Karan Singh are doing the rounds in political circles for the top post.
Home Minister Shivraj Patil is also being mentioned as one of the probables from the ruling side.